Since the quality of limestone quarried at Agata is expected to be high, the Project Execution/Technology Development team also plans to construct a lime production facility at the Agata project site. The lime produced would be used in the nickel processing plant, offsetting the costs of imported lime while also creating potential for some to be sold. The lime processing facility is a medium-term project currently expected to come online at the beginning of 2015 pending the receipt of all required permits, among other things.
The development plans and initial pre-development activities for the two DSO operations are underway and include:
a) For the high Fe DSO operation:
- the preparation of compliance reports to regulators
- land acquisition for the port facilities and roads
- planning and design for port construction
- road/infrastructure design and construction plans
- initial pre-development activities, including initial road construction and camp development
- confirming markets for products
- mine development planning
- community relations
b) For the Limestone DSO operation:
- further drilling on the limestone deposits to delineate resource to NI 43-101 standards
- preliminary concepts and mining plans for the limestone
- confirming markets for limestone and lime products
- metallurgical test works
An update to the NI 43-101 report prepared originally for Mindoro, together with a scoping study on both the Hi Fe and Limestone operations, are also initially planned and are to be followed by feasibility studies.
Agata Nickel (Ni) Processing Plant
The Agata Ni processing plant is a medium-term growth opportunity, which the Company expects could come into production in mid 2015, dependent on such things as a successful metallurgical testing program and pending receipt of the required permits. The plant would initially be designed to have a 20-year life, and would be built in modules with the ability to add capacity over time by adding further modules to increase throughput and Ni production. The Project Execution/Technology Development team is proposing the use of innovative, low cost leaching and downstream Ni recovery and purification technology rather than the traditional high cost HPAL processes used in the laterite nickel industry. TVIRD's team of technical staff engaged to deal with the Mindoro joint venture projects are the developers of this leaching and downstream Ni recovery and purification technology and their expertise will be used to fast-track the processing plant.